By Greg Bowman
Well, I told you not to panic. It’s a long season, remember? The Tigers start the final week of July in first place in the AL Central, one and a half games in front of the White Sox. I never worried for a minute. Okay, my nose is growing. I was concerned that the Tigers were not playing up to their potential, and had too many holes in the lineup. But as Manager Jim Leyland might say, there’s nothing wrong with the team that a few wins won’t fix.
The Tigers have now won 13 of their last 15 games, and it’s not hard to figure out why they are playing so much better. The main reason is the starting pitching. The Tigs have now gotten consecutive quality outings from Sherzer, Fister, Verlander, Porcello and even rookie Jacob Turner bounced back nicely Sunday with his first major league win after he got lit up by the Angels in his last outing.
And they’re getting contributions from the top of the order, with Jackson and Berry, setting the table for the big sluggers, Cabrera and Fielder. Brennan Boesch has also been red hot, and Young, Avilla and Peralta have also made solid contributions. Almost everyone in the lineup not named Ryan Rayburn has been coming through.
Speaking of Cabrera, how about that moonshot he hit into the camera well in Centerfield on Sunday, for the 300th homer of his career. And he’s not even 30 yet. Let’s hope he’s still in a Tiger uniform when he hits number 400 and 500.
It was nice to see Barry Larkin officially inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday. But that just makes me ask once again, why isn’t Alan Trammel in the Hall? His numbers are almost identical to Larkin’s. Larkin finished with more home runs. But Trammel had more hits and more RBI’s. And he won four gold gloves, compared to three for Larkin. Let’s hope this injustice is corrected next year. And make room for Jack Morris, too, the winningest pitcher in baseball in the 1980’s.